The Dangerous Optimist

This dangerous optimist lives by India first!

Mashelkar is uniquely multifaceted. In 1998, this scientist received J.R.D. Tata Corporate Leadership Award, an exclusive honour reserved for Indian Corporates. In 1998, he was also elected Fellow of Royal Society, the topmost global honour reserved for world’s pathbreaking scientists. But then he also pioneered `Gandhian Engineering’ -`More from less for more people’ – catering to the needs of the poor. And why? Mashelkar says, as a poor boy, he studied under streetlights. He understands the pains of poverty.

Mashelkar valiantly fought and revoked the wrong US patents on turmeric and Basmati rice based on India’s traditional knowledge. But to US multinationals, he licensed patents based on the modern knowledge of Indian laboratories, pioneering the trend of reverse transfer of technology.

Mashelkar is equally respected by industry, academia and the Government. He is an independent Director on boards of India’s leading companies, from Tatas to the Reliance group. 28 universities around the world have bestowed upon him honorary doctorates. The Government’s trust in him shows through the twelve high powered Mashelkar Committees, many of them on contentious issues.

Mashelkar’s leadership of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research for over 11 years led to transformation of this world’s largest chain of laboratories. This is heralded as one of the top ten achievements of Indian Science & Technology in the 20th century. No wonder he has received honours ranging from Padmabhushan at the hands of President of India to Star of Asia at the hands of George Bush (Sr), former US President.

If God were to grant him just one wish, what would he ask? Mashelkar says he will ask for one day on earth again in 2050 to see for himself his dream coming true – India is a leading advanced nation.